OpenQuest and Mythras?

Over at the RPGPub forum, in their epic BRP Edition Wars thread, The Butcher asked in response to me posting about my poll to determine which Mythras book I’m going to review next over at Sorcerer Under the Mountain blog.

…seeing as you’re the author of Openquest

What makes you choose either Mythras or Openquest as the system for a game? What would you say are the comparative strengths and weaknesses of each?

After a small amount of navel-gazing, and attempting to be straightforward, I gave this answer.

Without going into critical analysis which would be unfair to both games,

Basically, Mythras for me is the spiritual successor to RQ3, a game I loved dearly back in the late 80s and up to the late 90s, that clearly needed a logical tidying up. Mythras is that tidied-up game, and a little bit more 🙂 I tend to use it for games where I want to be a bit more considered and adult.

While OQ is taking BRP Fantasy mainly from Stormbringer which I adored but found a bit broken in places and early Call of Cthulhu (Games Worksop did a lovely edition in the 80s), mixing it up with RQ3’s three magic systems and taking it in all sorts of directions that my own house ruling takes it in.   So OQ fits my own looser GMing style, without completely sacrificing rules and numbers.

OpenQuest Next Video

As part of OpenQuest Online this weekend, I hosted a presentation about OpenQuest Next, which is the next big project for OpenQuest after the Kickstarter stretch goals are done. I’ve now posted the video on D101 Game’s YouTube channel

If you are an OpenQuest Patron or one of the Master pledge levels you’ve received a link to a google form to vote on what OpenQuest Next is, via email.

OpenQuest Online this Weekend

I almost can’t believe it, that we are having a whole weekend of online games that are purely OpenQuest. Four GMs, six games and one talk (OpenQuest Next on Saturday evening 8 pm – 9 pm BST)

Still spaces in games, so if you have been sitting on the fence or want to sign up for more games, now is the time to do it.

And here is that sceduele in all its glory.

Single Page OpenQuest Character Sheet

The blogger known as Ravenheart87 on BRP Central has created and posted on his blog – Vorpal Mace – a single-page OpenQuest character sheet.

Here is an excerpt about why he created it.

While re-reading OpenQuest 3e recently I felt an urge to fuck around a bit again with Affinity Publisher, and I ended up retooling one of my character sheets for the game. Newt gave his blessing, so here you are, download and have fun! C&C welcome. Stay tuned for more, as form-fillable versions are coming soon.

OpenQuest 2022 Online registration open

OpenQuest 3rd edition is almost one, and to celebrate its release I’m holding an online convention on the weekend of Saturday 9th to Sunday 10th July.

I’ve got a handful of referees signed up to run games, and plans for at least one online talk about the game.

To register your attendance on the following page, and if you are interested in running see the link that leads to the game submission page.

An Online OpenQuest Convention?

This one keeps on popping up in my mind and has done again since I’m now coming into what would normally be the beginning of convention season for me. The idea of having a one or two-day weekend convention to celebrate OpenQuest.  I’ve decided to strike when the iron is hot and hold it online in sometime in the 2nd half of June or early July – which coincides with the game going on general release last year.

So the idea would be to have multiple games, run by multiple refs, sign up via warhorn the week before, and one or two one hour talks by myself or other speakers about various topics related to OpenQuest.

Note you need not have a copy of OpenQuest or even know anything about the game to come along and play. In fact the rules are online courtesy of the OpenQuest Online SRD.

If you would like to offer your services as a ref, but haven’t got time to write up a scenario or create pre-gens don’t worry I have a number of published and unpublished adventures which have their origins as convention scenarios. Drop me a line at newt@d101games.com if you are interested in refereeing.

So here’s a poll to gather interest, which runs to the end of this month (31st May). Warning if I get enough interest, I may end this poll early and go straight onto organising it 🙂

Would you attend an OpenQuest Online Con?

If it’s a success, I’ll run another later in the year (Winter OpenQuest Con?) and look at holding a face to face one.

Update 30/05/22: I’m now looking at running this on one of the first two weekends of July, and I currently have two other GMs down to run games. If you are interested in GMing wither your own adventure or one of mine drop me a line at newt@d101games.com.

A Ramble in the Shambles

I’ve finally finished the long overdue adventure for Early Bird OpenQuest Kickstarter Backers, Catching the Wyrm.  

Catching the Wyrm, cover by Jon Hodgson

This 28-page adventure is a full standalone adventure that can be played in one or two four hour gaming sessions. It can be played as the final part of an introductory scenario arc, that starts with The Road Less Travelled (OpenQuest Main Rulebook), and continues with The Lost Outpost (the OpenQuest Quickstart).

it details a Quest where the characters arrive in Tent Town, a semi-permanent settlement that sits outside the cyclopean walls of the ruined city of The Shambles. They are quickly approached by one of the local shopkeepers, a reformed nomadic raider, who asks them to take up the task of dealing with a wingless immature dragon, known as a Wyrm, that has been sighted over the walls in the nearest district of the city known as the Squares. Whether they complete this Quest to the letter or forge their own path, is completely up to the players.

Writing Catching the Wyrm, which was originally meant to be a quick start adventure, really brought to mind that I tend to write three types of adventure.

Location-based. Be it a classic dungeon or a journey based adventure with ruins and settlements along the way, this is where the adventure is described as a set of locations, each with its own inhabitants, treasures and secrets to be found and interacted with. Obviously, you’ll be seeing lots of this in OpenQuest Dungeons, but The Road Less Travelled in the main OpenQuest rulebook is firmly of this type.

Scene Based. This is where I envision and describe the Quest in scenes, as you would a play or movie. Each scene is a loosely scripted encounter. There are elements of the location-based adventure, but there’s also lots of direction on how the encounter could play out to give the Referee the gaming juice that they need to get their imagination going. I’m pretty clear that any of the scenes may not survive contact with the players as written because I’m aware that this type of write up can fall foul of Referee Railroading during play.

Sandbox. This is similar to a location-based Quest but really goes to town on the NPCs, places, items and secrets – the things – that the characters can potentially encounter, without giving the Referee the same level of guidance on how to link those things together. It’s completely up to the players as they wander freely around the sandbox how the Quest emerges. Plot and narrative can be suggested by hanging suggested events, which are triggered if certain conditions are met, off locations – and this was the approach that I took in the for some of the Quests in the out of print Life and Death Saga.

I started writing Catching the Wyrm as a mini-Sandbox that features two adventure locations from The Shambles, as a taster for a larger book which features the full set of ruins. Tent Town is a ramshackle adventurer’s settlement, that provides safety, services and if the players want it intrigue. Then into the ruins proper. The Squares, is a middle-class suburb, with residential blocks, theatres, libraries and even an amphitheatre.  Swarming with Goblins, zombies and corrupted horrors. The problem is that it’s about 50 pages long without art or maps, and it’s still not complete. So I took what I had, ran it as a playtest and took the events in the playtest to write it up as a scene based adventure.

I’d like to think that the full sandbox will see the light of day at some point.  With a Tent Town that evolves depending on which faction the characters support and how much of The Shambles’ riches flow into its economy. With the full version of the Squares plus at least another seven districts that make up the entirety of The Shambles.

The adventure in both printed and pdf form should be out at the end of the month, after going to backers who qualify for a free copy. 

The World’s Favourite Fantasy Roleplaying Game vs D100

Note this excerpt is from the upcoming OpenQuest Dungeons supplement, and is an unedited work in progress.

In this article I’ll be refereeing to D&…opps can’t call it that due to copyright reasons, The World’s Favourite Fantasy Roleplaying Game as D20 and OpenQuest and other games of the family it belongs to as D100.

This section highlights the differences between D20 and D100 games so that new players and Referees can get up to speed quickly.

What’s similar

Characteristics are almost the same as D20 with the addition of Power (POW) and Size, and the dropping of Wisdom (which you could argue is replaced by POW). Like D20 they perform the dual function of giving players an at a glance first take on what their alter ego in the fictional fantasy world is like, and some hard numbers that the game rules runoff. Unlike D20 Level Based Games, where characteristics provide modifiers to dice rolls, characteristics are the base numbers of the character’s Skills.

Characters have Hit Points, but they are based on the average of Constitution and Size and only change if the player increases these characteristics by spending growth points. Weapons do dice damage with the addition of a damage modifier that is worked out from a sum of Strength and Size.

It’s a fantasy game and many of the monsters are the same. I intentionally included lots of D20 friendly monsters in OpenQuest, so there are humanoids such as Orcs, Goblins and Giants as well as Dwarfs and Elves as serious playable character races. One of the huge differences between early D20 games (Original and 1st especially) is that Referees were encouraged make Monsters as People and having a full listing of characteristics in the stat block encourages that.

What’s different

No classes. Even if you use a Ready-Made Concept to create your character, its just a starting point and characters grow organically due to their experiences in play, rather than down the path set out by their classes level progression.

For example Ethelred the Reckless, the example character in the OpenQuest rulebook, starts out effectively as a fighter based on his previous experience in the Dukes’ mercenary companies. Once play starts the character encounters lots of supernatural foes, and their player decides to learn lots of magic to counter all the disembodied spirits that have been plaguing their adventuring group. This leads to the character spending time with a Shaman to learn this magic, and then undergoing somewhat of a career change by pursuing things that the character needs to qualify for that type of magic-user.  Oh, and when he’s finished his Shaman training, he still has the combat skills that he can increase alongside his new magic skills as needs be.

Its Humancentric, but every monster is a potential player character race. Creatures that are especially suitable are those that are listed in the Real-World section of the Creatures chapter (see OpenQuest page 148).

Character advancement is by growth points not experience points, which you gain for taking part in game sessions, and when you bring the character’s in game goals, set by the player, known as motives, into play. You also gain a point of growth when your character succeeds especially well (a critical) or fails really badly (a fumble).  You can then spend that growth to improve your character however you wish.

Magic is not fire and forget or limited by character level. Spell availability is determined by the character having magic spells from one of the three approaches to magic.

  • Personal Magic.  This is the basic magic of the game. Every character starts of with six points worth – and each spell has a magic point cost.
  • Divine Magic. For Priests. Do right by the character’s deity or group of deities (if your character follows a Pantheon) and they provide the magical power for the spells they teach.
  • Sorcery. if you want to be what is called a Sorcerer, either a solo magician or one who is part of a School of Wizarding, with access to a wide range of spells that can have their duration, range, and effects increased by spending more magic points.

Each of the three magic systems have their attendant Other Worlds, dimensions that exist outside of normal reality, which the characters can interact with from early on, in the sense that creatures can be summoned from them and the characters can visit them (see Other World Quests in the OpenQuest Companion on page 44).

Combat can always be deadly. The characters’ hit points never go up automatically with increase of expertise. Players have to put growth points into Size and Constitution, which is an expensive route, so instead, you are relying on your character’s experience and magic, to deal with tougher monsters.  Tactics play a bigger role in OpenQuest combat. If you blunder into combat unprepared and even the weakest goblin can take your character out on a sequence of unlucky dice rolls.  I go this in What to Expect If You Get Into a Physical Fight on page 63 of the main rulebook.

Violence is not the only option. If your character is more of a fast talker or a seasoned orator, there are rules for Social Combat. This is a robust system that supports not only players who are confident in their roleplaying skills, but whose characters may lack the skills, but also quieter players who have created character’s who have more points in their Knowledge and Social skill groups than Combat skills.

Skills and Skill Tests are the workhorse of the system and are used to resolve matters when the outcome is uncertain. Remember those moments in D20 when you can’t decide whether the smooth-talking player roleplaying the CHA 8 fighter, will convince a character who is much quicker witted than the character? In OpenQuest we make an Influence skill test to see how it goes. The player of the CHA 8 character would roll a D100 versus their character’s Influence skill. This is not to say that common sense and player ingenuity go by the wayside. If the player comes out with a clever plan, the Referee is encouraged to let it pass without rolling the dice or give the player a hefty +20% or even +50% bonus to their character’s skill.

OpenQuest Dungeons cover by Jon Hodgson

Deities of the Underworld

So I’m deep into writing the next OpenQuest Book, which is OpenQuest Dungeons. At the moment it’s a heady mix of writing new rules guidance articles, creating resources (such as a set of stock NPCs), and creating dungeon-based adventures. More of that when my content list is firmed up. Suffice to say the book’s scope has shifted slightly from being a book with a bit of guidance on how to run OQ for people coming from D&D (about 10-20 pages) and two scenarios I had written in notebooks from years ago.

One thing that came to mind while converting The Sorcerer Under Mountain and starting to detail the religion of the Orcs who are encountered in the dungeon, is that I could do with a list of religions that people who work in the underworld, as well as the monstrous deities for Creatures, follow. Here’s a quick glimpse into what I’ve started to come up with.

The Underworld Deities

From the Imperial Way

These are Underworld deities worshipped within the Empire of Gatan and partially included in the Imperial Way.

The King’s Head

A sect of Assassins. Sometimes in favour with the Emperor, sometimes out of favour. See themselves as “Kingmakers and head takers”. Very active during the Ducal Wars as hitmen for hire but redeemed themselves as they fought against the Burning Horde sticking from the Underworld.

Delica the Daughter of Darkness

An old goddess, daughter of Maia the Earth Mother and the Great Elemental of Darkness. Ruler of the Underworld. Patroness of Thieves everywhere.  She also helps those who have to work underground.

Figgis the Ratter

Friend (hero follower?) of Delia, this foul smelly man is Patron of the Small Vicious Dog (available as an allied Spirit). Followers can also turn into weredogs.

The Love from Below

This is an androgynous Underworld deity of orgies and secrets. They are generally regarded as Benevolent among its rich followers. Less so by the poor who often involuntarily get dragged into its rituals.

A “forgotten” god from the time of Old Empire, not mentioned in the recent Imperial Revelation. The Imperial Priesthood would have declared it heresy if not for the favour it courts amongst Sotan City’s social class.

Goblinoid Deities

The Hidden One

The Hidden God is the Goblinoids’ name for their lost creator deity. This religion is based upon the idea that they are hiding from the other deities in the Underworld. Very much an outsider mystic religion even amongst the Goblinoids, who quite reasonably reject the idea and whose adherents, known as Seekers, can only back up their claim that the Hidden God is in the Underworld by saying that they gave goblinoids the ability to see in the dark so that they can go find them. Critics point out that the religion has no Priests, down to the fact that they haven’t found the Hidden God yet. The religion is called the “Hidden One” because if Seekers call it the Hidden God in Goblinoid society, they will get their heads bashed in.

 

Want to write OpenQuest material for D101 Games?

OpenQuest 3rd edition has been a big success. I want to continue to support the game, past this year’s road map of releases, so it’s time to invite budding OpenQuest writers to contribute.

We’ve got history with this. The Savage North was co-written by John Ossoway, the lead author of River of Heaven, our D100 Sci-fi game. Rik Kershaw-Moore co-wrote the Company, and Simon Bray and Paul Mitchener co-wrote Crucible of Dragons. Paul is also writing the upcoming The Clockwork Palace adventure and Four Emperors historical/fantasy OpenQuest powered game.

This is all paid work, and rates will be discussed privately and depend upon the scope of the piece. I’m considering new ideas from writers and have several projects that need writers to contribute to.

So if you are interested, drop me a line at newt@d101games.com.

 

OpenQuest 3rd Edition

The OpenQuest Quickstart

OpenQuest Quickstart Cover by Jonny Gray

OpenQuest Quickstart Cover © Jonny Gray

OpenQuest Companion

The OpenQuest Companion, cover by Jon Hodgson

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